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Making Up Is Hard to Do : Actors, Models Frequent Store in Burbank

Makeup artist Maurice Stein likes to think of his beauty supply business, Cinema Secrets, as a hardware store of cosmetics for Burbank’s TV and film industry. Instead of dispensing advice on fixing faucets, Stein fixes faces.

“I was always impressed with little old men in hardware stores who would spend 40 minutes teaching me how to fix something,” said Stein, head makeup artist on NBC TV’s “Golden Girls.” “And then I’d walk out with only $2 worth of stuff.”

Stein, 54, said he applies the same concept--including time with his customers--to his store, which is ringed by NBC, Disney and Burbank Studios and caters to makeup artists employed by film and such TV shows as “Dynasty,” “L.A. Law,” “Sonny Spoon,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “General Hospital” and “Miami Vice.”

The business, like its hardware-store prototype, is crammed with products from floor to ceiling. But instead of wrenches and nails, customers sift through more than 300 shades of lipstick, 40 colors of glitter and 200 shades of nail polish, eye shadow and blush.

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“People call it an ‘adult candy store,’ ” Stein said.

“I still go to all the beauty supply houses,” said Carol Schwartz, head makeup artist for the “Tracey Ullman Show.” “But Maurice has a very good selection.”

Offers ‘Goodies’

For help in doing makeup for Ullman’s wacky characterizations, Stein’s shop has “a lot of high fashion stuff and lots of little goodies that sometimes a regular beauty supply store doesn’t carry,” Schwartz said.

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Many makeup artists build loyalties to a supply store, Stein said, the most popular and enduring of which has been Frends Beauty Supply Co. in North Hollywood. The store, begun by Sigmund Frend in downtown Los Angeles in the early 1940s, is considered an institution by those in the entertainment industry.

Columbia Stage and Screen Cosmetic Co., which began in 1929, also is popular among hair and makeup artists in Hollywood, as is Naimie’s Film and Television Beauty Supply in North Hollywood. Naimie Ojeil, general manager at Frends for 22 years, split from the company 6 months ago to form his own business.

Stein said that when he opened his store nearly four years ago, he was searching for a “little hole in the wall for retirement” where he could field questions about tricky makeup assignments. His day is peppered with questions from friends who are in a bind.

‘Face Had to Crumble’

“The other day I got a call from a friend who had to make up a guy in a coffin,” Stein said. “He had to look dead, and his face had to crumble when you touched it.” Stein said he solved the problem by suggesting a product used in special effects work.

Makeup artists roam freely through four adjoining rooms in Stein’s shop, sometimes taking on the role of salesperson when retail customers ask advice. Many gather in the mirrored back room and practice their techniques, clean out their makeup kits, eat lunch or try on new products.

Buddy Daniels, who met Stein in 1975 when they were hairdressers together, frequents the back room, sometimes donning his “Buddy the Trash Can Man” outfit. The costume is designed so that Daniels, who is completely bald, looks like he is being carried in a trash can by a goon-like character, who is also completely bald.

“We rent that out,” Stein said. “And I think we created a monster.” Daniels, who premiered the outfit on a recent “Gong Show” installment (he was not gonged) said the costume “takes on a whole new persona” when he wears it. “We can literally look alike,” he said, referring to the trash can goon.

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The back room of Cinema Secrets often turns into a menagerie of such characters--and a reunion hall of sorts for Stein. “I see more friends in the business than before. Now I’m in one place.”

After working on the makeup crews of the “I Dream of Jeannie,” “The Flying Nun” and “Bonanza” TV shows, Stein joined head makeup artist John Chambers on the “Planet of the Apes” film series. Stein later worked on “Funny Girl,” “M*A*S*H” and the “Star Trek” film series and on the “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-in,” “Love Boat” and “Soap” TV shows--as well as powdering such political faces as Presidents Ford, Carter and Reagan.

Makeup Shouldn’t Show

“Whether it’s a top politician or it’s somebody that just walks in here, the secret is to make makeup look like it’s not made up,” Stein said. “The biggest compliment is that nobody says a word to me about the makeup.”

“Four-stage makeup” jobs are the hardest, Stein said. “You have to take someone 35 years old, make them look as they were in their 20s, back to 35, then to 55 and finally make them look as if they’re 70.” On “Golden Girls,” Stein each week ages actress Estelle Getty from her real age of 63 to 85.

Stein’s wife Barbara, 50, and two sons, 24 and 26, share in equal partnership in Cinema Secrets, and his daughter Debbie, 21, works at the store--as well as shopping there for her job as head hair stylist for the TV show “The New Munsters.”

A series of 10 classes for the public, ranging from hair extension to corrective makeup, are taught in Cinema Secret’s back room. Stein and his assistants also offer 1-hour makeup consultations, priced from $35 to $150, that begin with discussions of a person’s facial bone structure.

Clients pay the higher price, Stein said, if they are taught by himself or Harry Blake, makeup artist for Johnny Carson, who also teaches at the store.

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In consultations, Stein said, he often finds that eye makeup proves to be the greatest challenge for women. “Women try to put too many colors into the eye area,” he said. “The eye is maybe 3% to 5% of the whole face, and they try to put as many colors in that area as in the whole face.” Stein suggests using two colors, one light, one dark, to highlight and shadow the eye.

Anyone desiring instruction on applying corrective makeup to cover birthmarks, bruises or tattoos, Stein said, is not charged. Models needing to cover the effects of liposuction and face lifts frequent the store, he said, as do increasing numbers of men.

“Guys come in here all the time and say, ‘What do I do to get rid of the dark circles?’ ” Stein said. White makeup is not the key to erasing the circles, Stein said, recommending instead a cream that neutralizes the darker color. Stein and his staff of 22, including seven licensed cosmetologists, also advise men on covering 5-o’clock shadows and bald spots.

“Guys spend fortunes on hairpieces,” Stein said, adding that scalp makeup comes in assorted colors. “It’s better than spending $100 a month trying to grow new hair.”


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